Settled around 700 BC, Tikal flourished during the Classic Period, between 200 and 900 AD. As the capital of a conquest state, it served as a center for trade and economy, growing to a population of almost 100,000 before its decline. Some of its more noteworthy characters include Jasaw Chan K'awiil I, also known as Au Cacao (Lord Chocolate!), who conquered the chief rival Mayan state of Calakmul around 695 AD.
Though local knowledge of the site continued, it was largely ignored by the government and outsiders until an 1848 expedition sent by the Guatemalan government. Tikal slowly gained momentum as foreigners and explorers ventured in the jungle around El Peten, and in 1956 the University of Pennsylvania began to partner with the Instituto de Antropologia y Historia in Guatemala.
Modern-day visitors are in for a treat. An easy day trip from Flores or El Remate, Tikal is accessible for many visitors. Though most visitors come in the middle of the day, the best time to visit is early morning or in the evening - when the jungle is coolest and the crowds thinnest. Sights not to be missed include the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, Northern Acropolis, and Temple of Inscriptions.
Review by devora m, March 2013
Doing what: 8-Day Best of Guatemala Tour: Antigua, Pacaya Volcano, Lake Atitlan and Tikal Ruins
It was excellent
Money well spent! Highlight of trip. We did it midday in early March and weather was perfect. We used bug spray but no mosquitoes. Lunch was pleasant surprise. It was very good.
Review by Daniel B, January 2013
Doing what: Tikal Day Trip by Air from Guatemala City with Lunch
Really nice tour, on time, excellent guide, worth every penny.